We’ll be straight up; I saw this story this morning and didn’t immediately think too much of it, but I probably should’ve thought a little more carefully about it.
Droid Life have published photos of a phone in a ‘sandwich-box’, a common technique used to encase yet-to-be-released phones so that they can be distributed in limited numbers to trusted third parties for testing and confirmation, without their tell-tale markings and branding being visible. We’ve become aware of a number of such units in the past, more so from other manufacturers, and this is the first time we’ve seen photos purportedly of an LG device in such a configuration.
Given that LG is widely expected to unveil the LG G5 in just a few weeks at MWC 2016, it makes good sense that the device itself would be out in the wild for carrier testing and the like, and it’s entirely likely that this is where the photos above have come from. Devices like this tend to make their way to carriers and hardware partners before launches (e.g. Samsung has been known to send them to companies it partners with ahead of launches), and seeing this one in front of the camera is a welcome surprise.
There’s nothing to confirm this is an LG device, but the telltale markers lining up with the LG G5 rumours are certainly there. Here’s the things that make sense:
- Dual rear cameras – 16MP and 8MP. These are rumoured, and shown on this mysterious device.
- Fingerprint sensor – rumoured and now clearly visible. Matches earlier diagrams we’ve seen.
- Volume rocker taken from the back and moved to the left side.
- Sim and MicroSD slot on the lower right side.
- USB-C port on the bottom next to the speaker grille.
Is this the G5? Quite probably.
Is it the final unit just in a black box? Unlikely; what we’re probably seeing is an early release engineering sample, sent out for carrier or acceptance testing, likely with an incomplete case. It’s clearly marked “NOT FOR SALE”, a marking we’ve seen ourselves on pre-release engineering devices from Motorola, Samsung and other brands before.
Nonetheless, we’ll know in a few weeks when MWC 2016 rolls around.